March 19, 2021 – Beginning Monday, Oak Park’s online vaccine pre-registration form will begin gathering information from residents who qualify under the state’s latest expansion of Phase 1b eligibility, which adds workers in government, higher education, news media and restaurants, as well as religious leaders and trades people.
Meanwhile, the Cook County Health Department has begun allowing residents from throughout the suburbs served by separate local health departments including Oak Park to register for mass vaccination clinics being held across the area.
Residents are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to be vaccinated by providers other than the Oak Park Health Department should they arise, with the understanding that any required second dose must come from the same provider.
Governor J.B. Pritzker also announced that all Illinoisans age 16 and older will be eligible to receive a vaccine as of April 12. Oak Park’s pre-registration form will be updated to accept registration from all residents in early April, but health officials caution that eligibility does not mean availability, and vaccine supplies continue to be limited even as more groups become eligible.
As of Mon., March 15, the Illinois Department of Public Health was reporting that more than 14,300 Oak Park residents had received at least one dose and 9,000 residents are fully vaccinated, numbers that reflect vaccinations beyond those given locally.
These numbers have since grown, local officials say, as more than 600 residents received first doses at local drive-through clinics hosted this week by the Oak Park Department of Public Health.
Every Oak Park resident 65 and older who pre-registered has been invited to a local vaccination clinic and the Village has fully vaccinated all District 97 and 200 educators who signed up. Some 300 local private school educators and licensed day care workers who said they wanted the vaccine are scheduled to receive second doses this weekend.
Residents of the Village’s congregate living facilities, which house many lower-income seniors and individuals with disabilities, and many of the community’s homeless were given top priority and vaccinated when the state initially expanded to Phase 1b in late January. Teams of Oak Park Health Department representatives took the vaccine directly to these individuals.
Oak Park residents under 65 with have high-risk health conditions were included in the first expansion of Phase 1b eligibility are now being urged to watch their email for soon-to-come invitations for specific vaccination clinics.
Efforts also are underway to vaccinate essential workers like grocery store employees who live and work in Oak Park. In addition, Village staff is working with social service agencies, businesses and organizations such as the Community of Congregations to identify those who may be reluctant to get vaccinated or lack the technology to sign up for clinics.
So far, the Village is receiving vaccines that require two doses. But with the federal government promising broader distribution of the latest one-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, vaccinations could move even faster, officials said.